James Clarence Mangan was born in Dublin in 1803. The son of a poor grocer, he worked as a lawyers clerk among other things. His true talent, however , was poetry.
He started learning languages with the guidance of a Fr. Graham who taught him Latin, Spanish, French and German. He wrote ‘charades, enigmas & riddles’ for almanacs and directories under pseudonyms. He died in the cholera epidemic of 1849 after a life of unrelieved poverty.
A bronze bust of the poet stands in St. Stephens Green in Dublin. There is also a plaque dedicated to him at The Castle Inn, 5 Lord Edward Street, Dublin 8.
Mangan has been called one of the greatest poets of the nineteenth century. His life, however, may only be considered miserable; he was an opium addict at one time and a hard drinker.
Only his Dark Rosaleen was on the Irish Times list of favourite poems. Here is the first verse of this poem:
"This O my Dark Rosaleen,
Do not sigh, do not weep!
The priests are on the ocean green,
They march along the deep.
There 's wine from the royal Pope,
Upon the ocean green;
And Spanish ale shall give you hope,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!
Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope,
Shall give you health, and help, and hope,
My Dark Rosaleen!..."